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At noon on Wednesday, January 29, as part of the department's History Is Lunch series, Stephen Cunetto will present "Mississippi State University’s Templeton Music Museum and Ragtime Festival.”.

The Charles H. Templeton, Sr. Music Museum, located in MSU’s Mitchell Memorial Library, explores the changes that swept the music industry and American culture during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries through its collection of nearly 200 musical instruments, 22,000 pieces of sheet music, and 13,000 recordings.

One of the library’s main outreach projects is the Templeton Ragtime and Jazz Music Festival, now in its fourteenth year. The ragtime festival comprises a blend of major concerts in the McComas Hall Auditorium, and mini-concerts, seminars, and tours of the Templeton Music Museum. It will kick off on Thursday, February 27, at 6 p.m. with the Gatsby Gala, a 1920s-inspired fashion show and reception.

This year’s festival will feature screenings of the Charlie Chaplin 1916 silent film One AM and the 1927 Monty Banks film Chasing Choo Choos, a seminar by Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton on “Rural Black Folk Music,” and performances by Paxton, Bill Edwards, Stephanie Trick, Paolo Alderighi, and Jeff Barnhart.

“We’ll take a look at photos of the Templeton Music Museum and some of our phenomenal holdings,” Cunetto said, “I’ll also show videos of the instruments being played and performances from festivals in previous years.”

Stephen Cunetto is associate dean of the University Libraries and manager of the Charles Templeton Music Museum. He earned his BS in communication at Mississippi State University and his MILS at the University of Southern Mississippi. Cunetto has served as president of the Mississippi Library Association, Mississippi Theatre Association, Starkville Area Arts Council, and Starkville Community Theatre, and as executive director of the Mississippi Theatre Association 2003-16. In 2016 that organization named its highest award in his honor.

The program will take place in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium at the Two Mississippi Museums—the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum—located at 222 North Street, Jackson, MS 39201. There is no charge to attend.

The events are livestreamed on the department's Facebook page and archived there and on the department's YouTube channel. For more information call 601-576-6998 or email


February 5—Jerry Mitchell, “Race against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era”

February 12—Tony Boudreaux, Lance Harris, and Vin Steponaitis, “Recent Findings at the Grand Village of the Natchez”

February 19—Gary Benton, “A History of the Stennis Space Center”

February 26—Jere Nash and Andy Taggart, “Two Mississippi Governors from the First and Last Decades of the Twentieth Century”

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